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Shock avoid upset loss with huge rally at Kickoff Clash

Robert Vargo plays Overwatch during the York County School of Technology esports practice, February 19, 2020.Ydr Cc 3 10 20 York Tech Esports
Credit: Cameron Clark, York Daily Record, York Daily Record via Imagn Content Services, LLC

The San Francisco Shock, the top seed at the Overwatch League’s Kickoff Clash after an unbeaten qualifying run, avoided a potential upset with a furious comeback victory their West quarterfinal match on Thursday in Arlington, Texas.

The Shock, who went 6-0 in qualifying, rallied from two maps down to stun the Washington Justice 3-2. With the loss, the eighth-seeded Justice drop into the losers bracket.

In other quarterfinal action, the Dallas Fuel swept the Toronto Defiant 3-0 and the Los Angeles Gladiators took down the Houston Outlaws 3-0. The Atlanta Reign defeated the Florida Mayhem 3-1.

Following last week’s qualifying, the top three West seeds got to choose which opponents they would face in the tournament’s first round this week. San Francisco chose eighth-place Washington in a move that nearly backfired. Dallas chose to face sixth-place Toronto and Los Angeles chose to tangle with fifth-place Houston, leaving No. 4 seed Florida with seventh-place Atlanta.

The Justice jumped out to an early and surprising lead by winning 2-1 on Ilios and 3-2 on Eichenwalde. But the Shock stormed back, winning successive maps on Dorado (3-0), New Queen Street (1-0) and Lijiang Tower (2-1).

The Fuel handed the Defiant 2-1 on Lijiang Tower, 3-1 on Midtown and 2-1 on Dorado.

The Gladiators won Lijiang Tower 2-0, Eichenwalde 4-3 and Circuit Royal 1-0 to beat the Outlaws easily.

The Reign dropped their opening map to the Mayhem 3-1 on Ilios before taking control. It took three tight map victories for Atlanta to advance in the winners’ bracket — with wins on King’s Row (4-3), Watchpoint: Gibraltar (3-2) and New Queen Street (1-0).

Kickoff Clash play continues Friday in Arlington for the West teams with four matches:
Atlanta Reign vs. San Francisco Shock (semifinals, winners bracket)
Los Angeles Gladiators vs. Dallas Fuel (semifinals, winners bracket)
Washington Justice vs. Florida Mayhem (round 1, losers bracket)
Toronto Defiant vs. Houston Outlaws (round 1, losers bracket)

Overwatch League Kickoff Clash (West bracket) prize pool
1st place: $75,000, 3 OWL points
2nd place: $50,000, 2 OWL points
3rd place: $40,000, 1 OWL point
4th place: $30,000, 1 OWL point
5th-6th place: $15,000, 1 OWL point
7th-8th place: $0, 1 OWL point

–Field Level Media